Articles Posted in Animal / Dog Law

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This case arose out of three biting incidents involving a dog owned by Respondent. After the first bite, the City of Lino Lakes designated Respondent's dog as "potentially dangerous," and after the second bite, the City designated the dog as "dangerous." After the third bite, the City ordered the dog to be destroyed. The court of appeals reversed the City's decisions, holding that Appellant's inability to challenge the "potentially dangerous" designation violated his right to procedural due process. The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals, upheld the City's designation of the dog as "dangerous," and affirmed the City's order to destroy the dog, holding (1) Respondent was not constitutionally entitled to a hearing to challenge the "potentially dangerous" designation; and (2) substantial evidence supported the City's decisions. View "Sawh v. City of Lino Lakes" on Justia Law

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This case required the Supreme Court to interpret the Minnesota dog owner's liability statute. Respondent Gordon Anderson was injured during an attack on his dog by another dog named Bruno, owned by Respondent Neil Christopherson. Anderson, along with his wife, sued Christopherson and his father, arguing, among other claims, that the Christophersons were strictly liable for Anderson's injuries under Minn. Stat. 347.22. The district court granted partial summary judgment to the Christophersons, holding (1) the Christophersons were not liable under the statute because Bruno's conduct was not focused on Anderson; and (2) Dennis Christopherson was not liable because he was not an "owner" of Bruno, as that term was defined under the statute. The court of appeals reversed, holding (1) a dog owner may be held strictly liable for injuries caused by a dog's affirmative conduct regardless of the focus of that conduct; and (2) there were genuine issues of material fact as to whether Anderson's injury was a direct and immediate result of Bruno's conduct and whether Dennis Christopherson was an owner of Bruno under the statute. The Supreme Court affirmed and remanded for a jury trial on both the question of whether Anderson's injuries were caused by Bruno's conduct under section 347.22 and also the question of whether Dennis Christopherson was an "owner" of Bruno under the statute. View "Anderson v. Christopherson" on Justia Law

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Respondent Jill Engquist, as parent and natural guardian of minor Amber Engquist, sued Appellants, Steven and Christina Loyas, for injuries Amber sustained as a result of a dog bite that occurred at Appellants' residence. The district court entered judgment in favor of Appellants after finding that Amber provoked the dog to bite her. The court of appeals reversed on the ground that the jury instruction given by the district court misstated the meaning of provocation under Minn. Stat. 347.22. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because the jury could have found provocation without any consideration of the victim's knowledge of the danger, the jury instructions materially misstated the law and prejudiced Respondent. Remanded for a new trial. View "Engquist v. Loyas" on Justia Law